How can HR navigate the post-#MeToo scandal?

Whilst HR leaders have been applauded for their stance on workplace harassment and sexual abuse, the revelations have left many senior executives unsure

How can HR navigate the post-#MeToo scandal?

Since the outpouring of support following the #MeToo scandal, workplaces have undergone a shaky and uncertain period of adjustment.

Whilst HR leaders have been applauded for their stance on workplace harassment and sexual abuse, the revelations have left many senior executives unsure, and slightly wary, of how to act.

We spoke to Dr. Sarah Saska, CEO and co-founder of Feminuity, who discussed how her organization is dedicated to helping companies navigate these difficult waters.

“We work with innovative companies to help them embed diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategies into the core of their business,” she prefaced.

“That’s everything from their people, to their practices, policies, procedures, physical space, marketing, communications, community engagement, technology, their product, and beyond.  For us, it’s about a holistic, full 360-approach.”

Understanding the importance of a sturdy D&I program is half the battle. Any business that thinks they can trick the system with an unauthentic plan, such as a one-off training that simply “checks the box,” will not see results.

With this in mind, Saska told us that many companies are coming to her and her team to see how they can improve their D&I strategy proactively.

“More recently, companies are trying to be more proactive – however, they often don’t understand how to go about building their diversity and inclusion strategies,” she told HRD Canada.

“For them, we do a full assessment of their current people, policies, procedures, and practices, and we let them know where we see their D&I maturity level to be and from there we help them to design their strategies.”

Saska explained how they also help businesses who’ve suffered through a giant misfire.

“Maybe their CEO has stepped in something, or the company has said something publicly that didn’t go over well, or their HR team has had a bit of a flub.”

Saska helps these companies deal with issues by first understanding the core problem and then separating out the difference between their intention and their impact.

“Since last November, in regards to #MeToo, I’ve spoken with a lot of thoughtful male leaders who are sincerely confused about how to interact with women employees in their organization. At first, I thought it was a bit funny and they should know better, but as more concerns came in, I realized that it’s really not funny at all.  CEOs are coming to me with sincere and yet relatable questions. ‘Can I close the door when my EA comes into the room, if she’s a woman?’ ‘Can I hug a female colleague on her birthday?’”

“These are real questions asked very sincerely. It seems that folks really don’t know how to interact in the workplace right now.  If we take a step back and think about gender relations, at least in Western culture, at a high-level we’ve socialized women to cater to men and we’ve socialized men to feel entitled to women’s time, attention, and even bodies.  Well, the world is changing hard and fast and we all have a lot of re-learning to do, especially in terms of issues of consent.  The workplace is a great place to practice this but people need resources and spaces to talk through these questions and scenarios.” 

Dr. Saska will be moderating our upcoming webinar panel on Diversity and Inclusion, where you can learn everything you need to know about implanting the best diversity strategy in your company.

Don’t miss out – book your place here.  



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